He will go! Matano tears into misfiring striker Kitenge
Misfiring AFC Leopards striker Alexis Kitenge is in line to become the first casualty of an impending squad overhaul at the Den ahead of the 2018 season.
Leopards Head Coach pulled no punches as he tore in on the player’s underwhelming performances this season and went to the extent of saying the Burundian has no future at the club.
In the scathing criticism during an interview with Radio Citizen, Matano blamed the player for missing sitters as Leopards laboured to a 1-0 win over Chemelil Sugar at the Kasarani Stadium in Sunday’s Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash.
“We should have scored more goals, at least over three goals but that Burundian (Kitenge) could not do the simplest thing a striker should do. I don’t know how he found his way here, but I can confirm he won’t be part of this team next season,” a charged Matano said.
Quizzed why he still kept faith in the player nonetheless by fielding him, the former Ulinzi Stars tactician said he has had to contend with a lean squad and has hardly any other options on the bench.
“We don’t have options, I’ve been saying we had to cope with some of these players who have failed completely to realise what it means to wear the Leopards jersey. We cannot keep them in the team anymore,” Matano added, matter-of-factly.
Since taking over the reins from Englishman Stewart Hall in July, Matano has maintained the current Leopards team lacks the depth in squad and character befitting a local giant like them and that so often define title-winning sides.
Ingwe have endured yet another forgettable KPL run and or on course to missing out on a top ten finish for the second straight season.
Unlike last term when they finished 13th and went trophyless, their GOtv Shield success this year puts a flourish to their campaign yet does little to hide just how wide the gap between them and archrivals Gor Mahia FC keeps growing.
Matano was reluctant to name more players he has identified to follow Kitenge out of the Den as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging for silverware on the continental front having qualified for the CAF Confederations Cup by virtue of winning the GOtv Shield.
Kitenge joined Leopards in June on a six-month loan from Burundi giants Atletico Olympic, with club top cream officials averring high expectations in him then.
“Kitenge is a young striker. He was the top scorer in the just ended Burundian league and has been through his club’s academy meaning he has the know-how to give us what we want,” Lilumbi said.
“We needed a lethal striker and in Kitenge we are sorted,” Organising Secretary Timothy Lilumbi told Citizen Digital then.
Already, in his short-term stint at Ingwe, Matano has fallen out with Ugandans Keziron Kizito, Allan Kateregga and goalkeeper Ian Otieno.
Kizito joined Leopards alongside Kitenge on a free transfer from Uganda’s Vipers FC, but featured in few matches before a revelation of his exit from camp unceremoniously was reported.
He has since said he will not renew contract at the club, as well as custodian Otieno.
Meanwhile, despite suggesting massive changes at Leopards, Matano escaped to comment on with clarity rumors that he is on his way out from the 12-time champions.
“We have a match to play before we call it a season. That is what I’m thinking about now,” he told.
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